Call for more NI organ donors

Published Thursday, 23 June 2011
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New figures from the Public Health Agency show more people in Northern Ireland are signing up to the Organ Donor Register but that there are still not enough organs available.

Across the UK, the register has reached a record 18 million with 495,000 of those people in Northern Ireland, representing 28% of the population.

However, the PHA says there are 300 people here currently waiting for a transplant and not enough organs available.

The agency is now urging more people to join up.

"We are delighted to see an increase in Northern Ireland registrations", Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive, PHA, and Chair of the Organ Donation Taskforce Implementation Group said.

"This is the result of the efforts of many individuals and organisations that support organ donation and it is a fantastic achievement.

"We have recently taken many new opportunities to raise the profile of organ donation, through public events, working with partner organisations and the forthcoming Transplant Games, which take place in Belfast between 4-7 August.

However, people are still dying while waiting for organs so we are encouraging those who have not already done so to sign up today and, most importantly, to let their family and friends know about their wishes", he added.

Health Minister, Edwin Poots, said: "One of the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce report was to increase donor rates by 50% by 2013.

"We have already achieved this, as last year there were 40 donors, which almost doubles the number of donors in 2007/2008 when the Taskforce made its recommendations.

"This is a remarkable achievement, although more still has to be done, as 15 local people die each year while waiting for an organ.

"I would like to encourage anyone who has not yet signed the register to do so today; it is one of the most generous things a human being can do to help others.

I would also urge everyone to discuss their wishes with their family and friends", Mr Poots added.

If anyone would like to register as an organ donor, they should contact 0300 123 23 23.

© UTV News
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